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Lets talk about your website backups

Is making website backups on your to do list?

You may be lucky that your Internet host makes website backups on your behalf, but is that really enough to protect your website data should something go wrong.  It may be worth clarifying with your website host that they do make website backups, and what the process would be if you needed to access one.  You may find that your website host will charge you for restoring files, or may not have a backup which covers exactly what you need.

This is the same scenario you have with your PC, laptop, phone, digital camera etc.  What happens if the device fails or breaks and you lose all the important data you can’t replace.  It’s common that most people don’t backup their own files, so it’s no surprise that website backups are way down on the list of priorities.  But in exactly the same way that it’s incredibly frustrating/heart breaking to lose irreplaceable photos of loved ones, it good be equally disastrous for your business.  If your website is down for an extended period of time all your hard work to build your sites rank in Google could slip away.

Whose responsibility is it to backup my site?

This is an interesting question, because you could well consider it someone else responsibility.  You’ve paid a web designer to build your site, and you’ve paid an Internet host to make it available on the web. Have you asked either of those two whether backups are being made?

Being brutally honest it’s your responsibility to make sure your website is securely backed up by someone, whoever that someone is.

website-backups2How likely is it I need to use one of my website backups?

Unlikely, but in my experience it can happen.  Hopefully you won’t ever be in the situation where you need to refer to a backup, as a responsible Internet host should be taking care of this for you. Like all things you are trying to protect against the unthinkable scenario.

Do I backups my own websites?

A good question, and a resounding reply of YES!

First the host that I use (Asset ICT) make backups of all their servers, so I know I have a ‘primary’ backup of my business website.  Because I’ve worked in the IT industry for so long I also like to make my own extra website backups (just in case).  We can utilise a WordPress backup utility which makes a backup of the site, and then transfers it straight to a Dropbox account (for example).

My considerably larger car forum website gets an additional daily backup using the cPanel hosting account backup system, which is then downloaded directly to my main computer (which is also backed up separately).  This (compressed) backup is now just over 11GB in size, so losing this much data would effectively kill the site I’ve been developing since December 2011.

How should I go about making website backups?

This is fairly easy as I can talk you through the best procedures for making sure your site is backed up, but you still need to hold some responsibility for making sure they happen.  Again this fits in with a previous blog relating to what you need to do once your website is live – although it doesn’t cover backups.

The simplest solution I can suggest is to use a utility to automatically backup your WordPress site, which then automatically transfers the backup to a cloud based service such as Dropbox, Amazon S3, Copy.com, Google Drive for example.  The system I’m using here will also email you after running your website backups to tell you it’s completed successfully or if there was an issue.  Its easy for me to configure for you if you request it!

Website backups in summary

You need to take control of your website backups and ensure that you know that they are being taken, and that you have them available if the worst happens.